JLR suing Chinese firm over Evoque ‘copy’

JAGUAR Land Rover is suing a Chinese manufacturer for allegedly copying one of its most successful designs.

News agency Reuters, quoting sources with “direct knowledge of the matter”, is reporting that JLR is to mount legal action against Chinese firm Jiangling Motor for mimicking the design of the best-selling Range Rover Evoque.

JLR has had concerns over the move for several years and pictures of the Chinese vehicle – called the Land Wind X7 – show it to be almost identical to the Halewood, Merseyside-built Evoque.

The X7 sells for around a third of the price of the Evoque in China and JLR is worried that the vehicle will damage its sales in what is a vital market for the British firm.

The news agency said papers citing unfair competition had been filed at a court in Beijing’s eastern Chaoyang district.

It is rare that a foreign company takes such a stance, even in a country where the copyright laws are open to fairly liberal interpretation.

Reuters said that despite the apparent widespread copying of Western designs, companies rarely took legal action because it was difficult to win such cases and there could be a potential customer backlash if they felt domestic producers were being intimidated.

However, the Chinese-built Evoque is a vital part of JLR’s Chinese’s marketing strategy.

The company has pumped millions of pounds into a new factory in Changshu, in the Jiangshu Province where it is producing a version of the off-roader in collaboration with Chinese producer Chery.

If JLR was to win the case then it could pave the way for other Western manufacturers to do likewise, which could prompt the Chinese authorities to toughen up domestic legislation.